The UK’s motor manufacturing industry is on track to build more cars than neighboring France for the first time since 1966.
Rising sales of UK-made cars, both domestically and in key export markets, are expected to drive manufacturing to a new record level, which would mean France would be relegated from third to fourth place in Europe’s car production rankings, behind Germany, Spain and Great Britain.
Industry bosses estimate 2013 UK car production to reach 1.55 million cars, up from 1.47 million in 2012 and 1.35 million in 2011. At the same time, France’s car production is expected to fall to around 1.54 million cars for 2013, down from 1.66 million in 2012 and 1.88 million in 2011.
“We’re currently neck and neck with France but Britain’s car production is on an upward trend. France’s is on a downward trend. We’re about to cross. It could well be that the new figures will show that 2013 is the year in which we overtake them,” a spokesman for Britain’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
Auto industry chiefs forecast UK car production to continue its accelerated growth towards 2 million within three years, as a consequence of the investments made to increase production in the country.
2013 production growth was boosted by mainstream British-brands such as Jaguar, Land Rover, Mini and Vauxhall as well as super-luxury carmakers like Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Japanese carmakers including Nissan, Toyota and Honda also had a major contribution to production growth through their UK factories.
As for France, the fall in production is due to problems with the Euro, overcapacity, a stagnating domestic market and a lack of business confidence under the current government.
By Dan Mihalascu